Author Platform Performance Best Practices

     Becoming a professional, well-respected, novelist is like building a credit report. There are essentially three positions you may be in right now.
     The first and probably best position is the new credit guy. You have no books out there, and no social on-line or off-line presence. The second and most difficult is, you have tons of books out there and a long history of on-line and off-line presence, but no profitable margin of sales or vice versa.
     The third is, you've already followed all the rules and kept your book releases and presence hunky dory since the get go (In which case you wouldn't be reading this).
     The good news is, no matter where you are, you can come out on top if you are dedicated and determined. I am going to give you the tools I have used to take my thirty books, published over a ten year span, and turn them into profitable money makers and platform producers!
     If you are just starting off, and looking for ways to build an audience, then pay attention. If you follow along these steps and click these links (which I am in no way compensated for) you will get where you are going in a few months.
     First off, I have an on-line presence and have always been aware to remain professional. When I was younger, maybe not so much, but that IS why most living full-time writers are old! Old timers have learned from their mistakes; They're are not after the quick buck. Going after the quick buck will get you a world of a mess to clean up later (which is what I am currently doing). So word to the to-be Wise, be professional on-line, who you like, groups you join, etc. My feed looks like a book market, but, it really should, right?
     I am a husband and father of four and I work a full and part-time job while I write and publish, so it's not going to be easy- unless you're single and decide to work your ass off now. The money you earn for down hours will help you in the long run. In fact, I am about to publish a book called 'The Power of Prioritizing' because being me has made me a pro on that subject. So, priorities straight, I will keep this brief.
     Check out my platform. It is really the most efficient model at the time I am writing this. I have a website for my publishing company(because most of you will have decided to self-publish with Lulu, Smashwords, or Createspace) to make side bucks doing projects for others. And that website, I pay for a good builder that I can use easily, because that is where you will post all of your books and any other books that you publish that you are proud of. Don't post books on your publishing website that you didn't do right, it will only drive business away. Customers are going to look at the books on your site before they decide to publish with you, and you should welcome that. Again, be an adult- be professional. If you're not ready for that, don't have kids, live in suburban lodge, and travel cross country as a writer or something. And for all of our sake's wear a condom!
     I'm sure you're familiar with kdp, if not, set up an account there to do your own e-books. Take time on the covers, it's worth the effort. Use GIMP if you can't afford Photoshop. Or, just use Gimp anyway:)
     But this is a platform blog so let's get to it! Once you have an e-book through Amazon KDP, claim it! Be sure to visit Author Central to make a really good Amazon landing page for yourself. If you do a blog with blogger, you can add it to your Author Central Profile. Also, you can upload a video of yourself talking about your books. Use the free web presence. I forward JayMHorne.com straight to the Amazon Central Author Profile because who has time to make another website? And, you can buy your domain name for six bucks from Godaddy and forward it without paying a monthly hosting fee!
      Now, you are also going to want to sell your books yourself on your terms. The easiest way I have found, and the cheapest is through bookfunnel.com. It costs a few bucks a month, but it is worth it to be able to make landing pages and offer your book in any format to your readership. You will need to be able to sell your own book electronically because you will soon have to use some incentive to make people buy more of your product.
      Let's say you are writing a great book about vampire kids in a coal mine. You can convert a third of your complete manuscript into a partial series with Calibre and use Open Office to convert your .doc files to .odt files for e-book conversion then give it away to get people interested.
     The next great tool I will introduce is mailchimp. It is a free tool to produce landing pages and sign-up pages for an e-mail list. Use the tool to give away snippets and collect e-mail addresses where you can send future publications relevant to people who sign up.
     You should really have a total website for any book series that you plan on selling. That can be done through wix.com Just use the free version and buy your domain name from Godaddy for pennies and forward it to the free space! I can't tell you how many domains I own just for that reason.
      Driving traffic to your books.
      That's the biggest ordeal in the industry. Everyone is fighting for exposure. This is the part that I hope you young authors took seriously and grew up, and you old writers, went back and fixed your mistakes in old manuscripts.
     To get exposure use all the free tools you can. The first is to be sure and add front and back call-to-action links in your e-books. If you make them professional, KDP won't kick them back. Direct readers from the end of your book to the next book in the series or a page where they can buy more! It's a time consuming process to add links into the word document and then re-convert it through open office and Calibre and such. But, what hasn't been a pain in the ass since you were born? Just start with one and get a system down. It takes time.
     Prepare yourself for the headache of having to publish your eBooks and get the proper ISBN and links to them and then re-publishing them to be sure the manuscript contains the right links which weren't created before you published the first time. It can be a real bitch! But just peck away at it.
     Remember, the goal is to be a gray haired man in a quite office, sipping Jack Daniels and writing to his own rhythm. It takes work my friend. A lot of it! If you're anything like me, you've prepared your wife for your retirement and the last thing she wants is you with  a bottle of bourbon, all alone with no one to suggest he slow down (If only she could see the celebration in the sip after the words come up on the screen) ... but that is why writers fail. They want the lifestyle, but don't want to work for it first. This ain't the lottery. You really have to be good. Work now, pension later.
     Driving traffic to your books is easy. But if you redirect every car out of the McDonalds drive-thru into the direction of a dead end, you'll end up with shat.
     Your book is professional, error free, and a great looking product? Then create some buzz. How? Five ways:
      Talk about it before you release it. No one is going to steal your idea! Make a book cover, write a synopsis or get a copywriter to do it. I even take polls on Facebook for which book I should write next. At least that way you know someone is interested in something!
     Don't delay talking about your book idea because you're afraid you won't write it. Get it out there. There is nothing better than a fan hungry for a story they want to read. People will read the newspaper and be satisfied but only because they wanted something to complain about!
     The next tactic, host a giveaway contest. If you give away an entry for a $5 dollar amazon gift card in exchange for a Facebook re-post of your book release, you will be amazed at how many responses you'll get. I'm currently testing out rafflecopter.com but can't attest for results yet. Another way is to join author and book groups on Facebook. Don't go straight posting your book link on those pages! Talk to people. Don't buy their book, but ask them about it. You'd be surprised how many people buy your book first just from the conversation. I have bought many books from people I met in groups and have been pleasantly surprised. Review their work and then watch them repay the favor.
     Post something on Facebook like a Poll. Ask your friends which book idea you should be working on first. If you get responses then you know you have potential sales.
     The most comprehensive method for driving sales is a platform that is easy to use and specific to all of your genres and interests. I have such a broad interest in every genre my platform is HUGE, but not so quick to engage with specific audiences.
     If you are a new writer I suggest doing the following in order:
     Download mailchimp and play with it.
     Get a service to sell your own books. I use bookfunnel.com but there is also selz.com and others. Create a Facebook page for your product/book to post swag and gear and additional philosophy and editor cut writing fans can find.
     Utilize KDP's free giveaway promotional days to push those books you've published with back matter that will lead to possible conversions. You can use Amazon's Ad Campaigns as well, but I suggest researching your book's wide array of keywords on Google Keyword Tool first. When you are entering the keywords for your kindle book or ad be sure to think like the reader who may want it.
      For instance, if you loved werewolves and wanted to find good young adult books about them that were adventurous, what would you type in the amazon search bar? Not the title of your awesome book WarWolves! Instead you'd type, "best werewolf adventure stories," or "good werewolf books like American Werewolf in Paris," etc...
    Think like a reader. You only get seven in your kindle publication, but you can enter 1000 keywords in the ad space. So do like me and type in the search bar stuff you would be looking for and take the top most results and manually add them to the keyword list on your ad.
     All of these tips and links will amount to nothing if you don't assure that your book is flawless. Now grant it, I've been through my share of editors. Just like paramedics or bosses, everyone thinks they know the best way to do something. The only sure-fire way to know that your punctuation is effective is to read the book out load and see if you run into hiccups, tongue twisters or dull spots.

     If you follow these start guidelines, you will be marketing and spreading word of your books like wildfire.
     A final tip. Never be unsure to share with fellow writers and authors. It may seem like the market is crowded and naysayers will always reinforce the fact that books are old news... But people have been trying to get in front of the spotlight for generations. Everyone gets ten seconds of fame. Not everyone leaves a legacy that will last.
     Visit Bookflurry.com to find coming releases and a contact page to reach the writer. Respond here with a comment! We want to help!


Comments

  1. This was written quickly before bedtime and another 24 hour shift. But it’s a good starting place and it dies show that I have my priorities straight!:)
    Contact me at bookflurry.com for more tips and tools for budding or stagnant authors and their works.

    ReplyDelete

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